Interesting read, thanks for sharing! I agree with some of the comments above that express concerns over affordability of customized razors and whether it will be enough to win over millennials, even if prices remained the same as they were today. In the long term, an even more concerning issue regarding razors for me is that consumers may soon be able to afford their own 3D printers in the home. If consumers have their own 3D printers, plastic sheets are inexpensive, and template molds are available online, then consumers can easily print their own handles and buy blades at the store. We are far from this reality today, but I see the future as a tough market for all razor blade companies. Its not niche companies like Dollar Shave Club that might push Gillette razors out, but consumers themselves. In the short term though, I think 3D printing will definitely allow Gillette and other razor companies to bring down their COGS, increase margins, and experiment more freely with product development.
As an avid NBA fan, I really enjoyed reading this! I didn’t know that the Raptors used IBM Watson to scout and draft players so this was fascinating to read and I thought your comment about using Watson for player development was really good. In the 2016 draft, they took Poeltl at 9 and Siakam at 26 and in 2017 they took Anunoby at 23. Overall, based on the other players that were available at these draft positions and the growth of those other players over the past couple years, I’d give the Raptors a B grade. There’s certainly a lot of room to improve their analytics model.
My concern about using IBM Watson is that it relies on historical data. Over the past several years, the style of play in basketball has gone through a fundamental shift, now much more free-form with pace and space, more 3’s, and less defense. I worry that IBM Watson wouldn’t have been be able to anticipate such a radical shift in style of play and that it would have recommended players based on incremental change that would have been expected. This is like in the GAP marketing case where machine learning in the fashion industry wasn’t able to pick up really drastic revolutionary shifts in fashion trends. To be ahead of the curve and create something brand new, human guidance was needed. Would IBM Watson have predicted the rise of the Warriors or of the Rockets’ mind-boggling statistical three-point season last year?
Finally, this application raises a few additional questions for me: 1) how do they account for players who will make an immediately impact vs. players who will need further development but have higher long-term potential; 2) how do they build into their analytics model the skills/ability of the coaches to actually develop young players; 3) will this machine learning arms race fundamentally change the way basketball is played and enjoyed by fans?
A very thought provoking article – thank you! Regarding your question, I think UNICEF will need to develop and maintain a strong capability to evaluate which proposals will have the greatest positive impact and have very strict criteria by which they enter into partnerships. It sounds like they already have these capabilities institutionalized in their Innovation Unit, but nevertheless, it’s critical that they continue to stay the course. It’s also important that they maintain the ability to reject proposals if they do not meet their high standards. One of the best ways to protect against third party interests, as discussed in the comments above, is to include several community members and local advocates who are invested in the cause to also serve as key decision makers.
This was a joy to read – thank you for writing on this topic! I agree with Mike’s point above: in order for LEGO to remain relevant, I think it, in part, needs to tap into the parent-child relationship. It should position itself as a toy that teaches kids creativity and design/building/dexterity skills, and its marketing strategy should focus on how LEGOs can strengthen the parent-child relationship. LEGOs represent nostalgia and are toys that parents can play together with their kids. I love how they crowdsource innovative product ideas and I think they really need to double down on this in their bricks-and-mortar stores and theme parks to enhance engagement. Perhaps they could even partner with public libraries or schools to really drive their message of innovation and creativity. For example, I can see them doing a campaign with public schools where kids imagine themselves and their surroundings in the future and the company highlights a few of the stories.
This is a fascinating topic – thanks so much for sharing! As someone who loves to cook, I’m really excited about having this technology in my future kitchen. I think it will not only enhance the convenience of preparing meals on busy days, but also increase the fun, creativity, and complexity of cooking that can be done in the home. For example, I would love to have printed cake decorations or flower-shaped carrots to garnish a salad.
I also think you made a great point about how this technology can help individuals with swallowing difficulties. Your point actually made think about this NYT article from 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/12/world/asia/japan-yokohama-aging-population-food.html. It features a restaurant in Yokohama, Japan that specializes in preparing food for elderly patients with chewing or swallowing problems–their expertise is in altering the texture of foods so that individuals do not aspirate the food and develop medical complications. I think there’s tremendous opportunity for this company to address this specific population’s needs and bring convenience into the home. Of course, that is dependent on developing an affordable product for everyday consumers.
This is a really interesting topic – thanks for sharing. Thinking of other applications for this technology, temporary shelters for displaced individuals from natural disasters also comes to mind. As you point out, I think there is a long way to go in convincing consumers that this product is high-quality and safe, but this is an achievable goal. Regarding one of your questions, I think New Story should focus on both small components and full sized homes and they could do so without cannibalizing sales for either. There’s tremendous market potential for both and as a first mover, I think they’ll have a lot of opportunity for social impact and growth.